It felt like Hogwarts Legacy was always going to struggle to live up to the hype, but somehow Avalanche Software has managed to deliver an absolutely fantastic open world adventure that will surely go down as comfortably the best game based on the Harry Potter franchise so far. If you've been following its progress for a while and were keeping your fingers crossed for good reviews, we're pleased to report that it's definitely been worth the wait.
For the first entry in a brand-new series, Frontier has done a great job with F1 Manager 2022. The 3D race engine is consistently engaging and visually stunning for a management game, the user interface is well-designed, and even the controls are easy enough to get to grips with on Xbox. There are definitely balancing issues that need to be ironed out at launch, but if Frontier can add some updates pretty sharpish, we'll happily bump this review up to at least an 8/10.
If you enjoyed Two Point Hospital on Xbox Game Pass, you're going to love Two Point Campus as well. It's a great sequel in a superb simulation series, and the college/university setting feels like the perfect next step for Two Point Studios' brand of silly, strategic fun. It's also one of the most enjoyable Xbox simulation games out there thanks to its well-designed control scheme, complete with a single-player campaign you'll almost certainly get invested in.So, does it pass the test...? Absolutely!
So, that's PowerWash Simulator in a nutshell. It's a really chill addition to Xbox Game Pass that you'll likely end up enjoying a lot if you're into this sort of thing, while others will inevitably think it's boring and too repetitive. It does what it says on the tin though, executing on its concept very effectively, while the addition of online co-op with cross-play between Xbox and PC is a great touch.
Matchpoint: Tennis Championships deserves your attention on Xbox Game Pass, as it's genuinely one of the better Xbox tennis games we've seen in years. It has its drawbacks, particularly in the presentation department, but it's also good fun when you get out on the court. Unfortunately, some of that enjoyment has been taken away for us because even on the highest difficulty, the game just feels far too easy at launch, rendering a lot of the strategic elements and Career Mode's features somewhat useless for now. It's still a pretty good game regardless, but definitely in need of a couple of balancing tweaks over the coming weeks and months.
So, we're happy to report that Fall Guys is definitely worth trying out on Xbox, and the fact that it supports cross-platform and cross-progression with other platforms means you can mix-and-match across Xbox, PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5, and that aspect seems to be working really well in our experience so far. We've had to wait a couple of years for its arrival, but it's great to see Fall Guys finally joining the Xbox family in 2022!
Kao The Kangaroo is a hard one to sum up, then, because while it definitely feels low-budget, clunky and frustrating at times, it's also a platformer packed with plenty of fun and memorable moments. It feels like the developer went the extra mile to inject some ambition into this game and craft something that deserves a place alongside the behemoths of the genre, even if it can't meet the lofty heights of a Crash Bandicoot or a Super Lucky's Tale. It's nice to see Kao punching above his weight in 2022, and not just being relegated to an easy cash grab.
It always felt like LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga would struggle to live up to its lofty promise of delivering essentially the most expansive Star Wars game to date, but the team at TT Games really have done an amazing job on it. We've still got a few nitpicks, and we also wish it included online co-op support, but there's no denying that it's a stunningly beautiful and brilliantly ambitious take on the world of Star Wars complete with endlessly enjoyable gameplay and enough side-content to keep you busy for many, many hours to come. We've been waiting so long for this game to arrive, and we're pleased to report the Force is definitely strong with this one.
In our view, Shredders is an ideal Xbox Game Pass game. It's a game most players will get a few hours of enjoyment from, complete the missions and grab some achievements, and then move on. The dedicated fans will keep coming back for the fluid and rewarding gameplay, and maybe to get perfect scores on all those missions. If you go into it expecting a big-budget rival to the likes of SSX and Amped, you might be disappointed with what you find, but taken at face value, Shredders is a fun time and a worthy addition to the sports library on Game Pass.
WWE 2K22 isn't going to surpass the likes of "No Mercy" and "Here Comes The Pain" in terms of fan favourite wrestling games, but in our opinion, it's the best WWE 2K game to date. The gameplay is improved, the graphics are improved, and there's enough content here to keep you busy for a long time, even if some of the new modes haven't quite reached their potential yet. There are still some unwanted series staples here, such as clunky collision detection, but for the most part it's obvious how much progress has been made across the board over the past couple of years, and it's now up to 2K to take things to the next level with WWE 2K23.
It's a transitional year for NHL, then. It's arguably better than ever on the ice, playing a mostly authentic and enjoyable brand of hockey that implements some subtle, but worthy new features to satisfy hardcore fans. It also looks meaningfully improved thanks to the Frostbite engine (and clearly a lot of hard work). But in terms of content and game modes, it's largely the same offering as last year, and that gets pretty old after a while. Hopefully, now that the engine transition is out of the way, we can look forward to some ambitious new modes and features in NHL 23 and beyond.
Is Back 4 Blood the Left 4 Dead 3 we've been waiting for? Yes! It's a worthy spiritual successor to Valve's classic zombie-slaying series of multiplayer games, and offers a well-designed Campaign mode with some impressive new features such as its strategic Card system. The difficulty perhaps needs balancing a little more, and the lack of meaningful progression when playing Solo Campaign needs addressing sharpish, but otherwise we've had a blast with Back 4 Blood so far, and we look forward to many more Campaign runs in the weeks, months and years to come.
We're pleasantly surprised by FIFA 22 on Xbox Series X. The franchise had a good first outing on next-gen consoles last year, but the gameplay has really been taken up a notch this time around, seemingly proving that "Hypermotion Technology" isn't just another throwaway buzzword. It's not perfect, and there are certain areas off the pitch that we wish could have received even more attention, but this is the best FIFA has been in quite a few years, and we just hope it isn't ruined by unnecessary gameplay patches down the line.
Ultimately, the main impression we've taken away from Golf Club: Wasteland is that it's an alright golf game on its own, but it's really not about the golf. You'll want to settle in with a nice pair of headphones when playing this one, let the game suck you into its unique concept and narrative, and we think you'll have a really good time with it. At a standard price of £8.29 / $9.99, it's a definitely a reasonable fee for an other-worldly round of golf.
All in all, Twelve Minutes is definitely worth a download with Xbox Game Pass if you're even the least bit interested in the premise, as both its story and gameplay combine to create a memorable thriller. There are a couple of downsides if you look for them, and the replayability factor will be pretty low after you've discovered everything, but we think you'll really enjoy your main playthrough regardless, even if you're not the biggest fan of point-and-click games.
The core gameplay is where it shines brightest, highlighted by intuitive driving controls, and the career mode is just about engaging enough to keep you invested — we'd just love to see a more in-depth version of it with multiplayer support in the inevitable Lawn Mowing Simulator 2.
Microsoft Flight Simulator is nothing short of revolutionary, featuring an almost impossibly large, authentic and living open world that's bound to take your breath away. Asobo and Xbox Game Studios have delivered a truly special entry in this historic franchise, and it's only going to get better in the years to come.
It's easy to see how a fan of past Olympics games could be put off by Tokyo 2020, but if you're willing to lean into its arcade tendencies, you can have a lot of fun with it. The games are enjoyable for the most part, the presentation is great, and there's enough depth to keep you playing longer than just a few rounds of each sport. It certainly won't be for everyone, but SEGA's willingness to be bold and divert away from the simulation-heavy focus of previous Olympics games makes Tokyo 2020 a refreshingly memorable competitor that deserves some attention.
Undoubtedly, Wreckfest itself is an absolutely fantastic racer and you'll have a blast on Series X regardless of whether you stick with the free 4K, 60FPS patch or go one step further with this paid next-gen upgrade. This is without doubt the definitive way to play the game on Xbox Series X, but thanks to that free patch a couple of months ago, there's really no need to pay the extra money unless you're a devoted Wreckfest nut.
It's a fantastic year to be getting MLB The Show 21 on Xbox. There's a welcome 'Casual' preset for beginners, the gameplay is more enjoyable than ever, and newcomers will likely be overwhelmed (in a good way) at the sheer amount of content at their disposal. Road to the Show's new Ballplayer integration won't satisfy everyone, and needs a few tweaks, but it's nevertheless still a highly enjoyable mode to play, and the likes of Diamond Dynasty and March to October are excellent options as well. We've been waiting a long time to experience The Show for ourselves on Xbox, and it's amazing to finally be stepping up to the plate with MLB The Show 21 on Xbox Game Pass.